Pastoral Perspectives

Prayer: A New Discovery

Prayer!  Embrace it or flee from it?  How do we understand prayer?  How should we approach prayer?  Prayer is not so much as to get what we want but rather to do what God desires.  To many of us, prayer is not something natural for us to do nor is it an easy thing for us to handle and manage!  If prayer is a difficult thing to do or accomplish, God, in the first place, would not have asked us to do or even expected us to use it.  I have discovered that prayer is an invitation from God, i.e. God’s invitation.  I have learnt this from the prophet Jeremiah.  God is the initiator of prayer.  God invites us to come to Him.  He desires us to bring our requests: big or small, to Him.  He delights to listen to each of our prayers.  How wonderful it is to know this truth!  How would we, then, respond to such an invitation?

In this perspective, I would like to focus on Jeremiah 33: 3, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Prayer is God’s invitation.  God is the One issuing this grand invitation to us.  Would you accept His invitation?  God invited Jeremiah to prayer as in Jeremiah 33: 3.  Jesus, God’s Son, invited the disciples of Jesus to prayer as in John 16: 24.  Jesus invited the people to prayer as in Matthew 7: 7-8.  Now, He invites each one of us to prayer.  Prayer is an enjoyable thing to do and not burdensome or cumbersome.  Prayer is “calling to God.”  It is directed at God and not at man.  It is for God to listen and not for man.  It is not uttering many words that your prayer is heard but it is uttering words sincerely and truthfully from your hearts that your prayer is heard and accepted.  When you pray, God is listening.  God cares about what you pray and about what bothers or concerns you.  Thank God for He cares for our needs and listens to our prayers!

Let us look at the man of prayer, Abraham.  When Abraham communed with God, what he has done is prayer in its basic sense.  There is spontaneity in prayer.  Abraham simply related his concerns to God.  There is truthfulness in prayer.  He shared with God the true struggle of his heart.  He was frank with God.  He did not beat around the bush.  He was straight to the point in what he wanted to communicate to God.  He did not hide his feeling and thought from God.  He simply told God what his heart felt about the situation.  There is also boldness in prayer.  Abraham dared to ask God.  He was not afraid to inquire of the Lord God.  I have learnt this from Genesis 18: 22-33.  Would we not desire to have the same boldness as Abraham?  Surely, we would desire to.

The wonderful thing is that when we are willing to call to God in our time of needs, God will not abandon us but He will answer us.  More than that, He will tell us great and hidden things which we have not known.  God is the Revealer of all hidden things.  He will make known to us what we should know.  His invitation to us is clear.  We just need to accept His invitation and begin to “call to Him”.  It is when we call to Him, He will then answer and reveal things to us.  There are a lot of things happening to us and around us which are rather alarming.  What you and I need to do is to come before our great and almighty God to ask of Him.  I like what the Psalmist said in Psalm 66: 19-20, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.  Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!”

My earnest urge for all of us is to accept God’s invitation to prayer.  Call to Him often, not because we must but because we are willing.  Calling to God will be the delight of your heart.  Let there be spontaneity in our prayer.  Let there also be truthfulness in our prayer.  Most of all, let there be boldness in our prayer.  Dare to ask and leave it to God to answer according to His good and perfect will.

Remember, prayer is not for the prayer warrior.  It is for every believer in Christ, every child of God.  Prayer is for those who desire to commune with God and for those who desire to draw close to God.  In simple term, prayer is asking God or calling to God.  In prayer, we bring our earnest request before a gracious and loving God.  Amen.

Pr George Ang

February 19, 2012